Many Jamaicans who go overseas will tell you that they’re often confronted with the stereotypes that people from the island either smoke or drink often. Those labels apparently have been slapped on Jamaicans by one of Africa’s most revered leaders.
Robert Mugabe, the president of Zimbabwe, reportedly took shots at Jamaicans at a recent university lecture dubbed the Research and Intellectual Expo 2012. According to Zimbabwean internet news and entertainment outlet, Nehanda Radio, President Mugabe branded Jamaican men as weed smokers and drunkards.
According to the report, Mugabe allegedly described Jamaica as, "a country of marijuana smokers, where women are now taking charge since men are always sloshed (drunk).”
President Mugabe, who neither smokes nor drinks alcohol, insisted that Zimbabweans should never follow in Jamaica’s footsteps while implying that the island’s culture has negatively influenced his people. This, as speculation mounts that Mugabe has diplomatic differences with Jamaica.
The report by Nehanda Radio also stated that Mugabe, who's previously traveled to the island, intimated that Jamaicans are free to smoke marijuana despite the herb being illegal in the island while also alleging that local men prefer to sing that get an education.
"In Jamaica, they have freedom to smoke mbanje, varume vanogara vakadhakwa (men are always drunk) and universities are full of women," Mugabe allegedly said.
"The men want to sing and do not go to colleges vamwe vanobva vamonwa musoro (some are dreadlocked). Let us not go there."
The report also claims that Mugabe isn’t enthused by the praise that countless Reggae and Dancehall artistes have heaped upon him in song.
Jamaicans remember Mugabe given that the island’s most decorated artiste, Bob Marley performed at an a concert on the day when Zimbabwe gained independence in April, 1980. Marley sang the aptly titled classic, Zimbabwe at the event and people from the South African country revere Marley as one of their heroes.
Internationally acclaimed Reggae artiste, Sizzla Kalonji also performed at a birthday concert for President Mugabe in 2010, drawing much controversy in the process.
"I see him as one of my fathers from Africa," Sizzla said at the time.
"He's part of my nation, the black nation. In all that he's done - whether it's good or bad - I hope and pray that it's for the betterment of the people.”
Jamaican government officials were reportedly made aware of what Mugabe stated but have yet to comment on the matter.